NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES (Revised/Effective May 1, 2016)
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully. St. Tammany Health System (“STHS”), St. Tammany Physicians Network, other STHS facilities, affiliated providers, and physicians on our medical staff present this joint notice as a requirement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The notice: (i) describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, and health care operations and for other purposes permitted or required by law; (ii) describes your rights to access and control your protected health information in some cases; and (iii) applies to all records of your care generated by STHS and made by STHS personnel, your doctor, and other healthcare providers. If your personal physician is not affiliated with STHS, he or she may have different policies about how to handle your information and may also provide a separate notice.
In addition, there may be instances where STHS will share your protected health information with members of an Organized Health Care Arrangement as allowed under HIPAA regulations and as necessary to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations. These members include patient care facilities affiliated with STHS such as Ochsner Health System, and all medical staff, employees, volunteers, students, and other personnel who work there. STHS may also elect to participate in secure health information networks designed and developed to promote healthcare continuity.
- What is "protected health information" or “PHI”? It is written, electronic, and verbally-transmitted health information including demographic data that can be used to identify you. It is health information created or received by STHS that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition.
- We are required by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information and provide notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to that information. We are required to abide by the terms of this notice. Any use or disclosure not described in this Notice will be made only with your written authorization. We will ask that you sign a written acknowledgment that you had the opportunity to read our Notice and obtain a copy of it.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
FOR TREATMENT We may use your information to provide, coordinate, and manage your healthcare needs. We may disclose your health information to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals involved in taking care of you. For example, we may disclose your health information to a home health agency that provides care to you after you leave the Hospital. STHS departments may share your health information to coordinate treatment and services you may need such as medications, lab work, meals, and x-rays. We may also provide your physician, our affiliated providers such as Ochsner Health System or a subsequent healthcare provider with access to your clinical record to assist in coordination of your health care.
FOR PAYMENT We may use and disclose your health information to bill and collect payment from you, your insurance company or any third party payor. For example, we will ask you to give us your insurance company information so they will pay us or reimburse you for the treatment you receive.
FOR HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS The STHS medical staff, employees, and independent contractors may use your health information to assess the care and outcomes in your case. The information may also be used for quality assessment and improvement activities and patient safety activities. For example, we may combine medical information about many patients to evaluate the need for new services or treatment. We may also disclose information to educate students and our staff, and in addition, combine medical information we have with that of other hospitals to see how we can make improvements. We may post your name outside the door to the room that you occupy. If you do not want us to post your name in this manner, tell your nurse.
STHS may also use and disclose your medical information:
- To remind you that you have an appointment for medical care, assess your satisfaction with our services, and tell you about possible treatment alternatives and health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
- For accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities and for review/auditing purposes, including compliance reviews and maintaining compliance programs.
- For business management, general administrative activities, and legal services.
BUSINESS ASSOCIATES We provide some services in our organization through contracts with business associates. Examples include processing of certain laboratory tests and a service we use to make requested copies of health records. When services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we have asked them to do and bill for services rendered, and we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your protected health information.
DIRECTORY We may include information about you in a directory while you are a patient at the Hospital. The information may include your name, location in the Hospital, general condition, e.g., good or fair, and religious affiliation. This information may be provided to the clergy and, except for religious affiliation, to other people who ask for you by name. If you would like to opt out of being in our facility directory, contact the Patient Experience Department at Extension 4669.
INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN YOUR CARE/PAYMENT FOR CARE We may release information about you to a family member or friend who is directly involved in your care or who helps pay for your care.
RESEARCH We may disclose information to researchers when an institutional review board has reviewed and approved a research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your health information.
FUTURE COMMUNICATIONS We may communicate with you via newsletters or other means about treatment options, disease management and wellness programs or other community-based initiatives our facility is participating in, like a community health fair.
FUNDRAISING We may use certain information to contact you in the future to help support fundraising efforts. We may also provide information to our institutionally-related foundation, St. Tammany Hospital Foundation, for the same purpose. If you do not want to be contacted for any fundraising efforts, notify the St. Tammy Hospital Foundation at (985) 898-4174 or in writing to the Foundation c/o 1202 South Tyler Street, Covington, Louisiana 70433.
LAW ENFORCEMENT/OTHER PURPOSES We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes and other purposes required by law or in response to a valid subpoena. STHS may also disclose health information to the following types of entities:
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Public Health or Legal Authorities that prevent or control disease, injury or disability
- Correctional Institutions
- Workers’ Compensation Agents
- Organ and Tissue Donation Organizations
- Health Oversight Agencies and Quality Improvement Organizations
- Funeral Directors, Coroners, and Medical Directors
- National Security and Intelligence Agencies
- Protective Services for the President and Others
- Disaster Relief Agencies associated with Emergency Management Planning and Relief Efforts
- In response to a court order or in the defense of a malpractice claim arising out of care provided by STHS
YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION RIGHTS
Your health record is the property of STHS, and you have the following rights.
Inspect and Copy You have a right to inspect and obtain a copy of your health information when a request is submitted to STHS in writing. Usually, this includes medical and billing records. If you request a copy, STHS may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request. If you request a copy in electronic format, we will provide the information in an electronic format. If there are any fees for the costs of creating this format, we may charge you for them.
We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed health care professional chosen by STHS will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.
AmendMENT If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend your record for as long as the information is kept by or for the Hospital. This request must be in writing and must provide a reason that supports your request. We may deny your request for an amendment, and if this occurs, you will be notified of the reason for the denial.
Accounting of Disclosures & Notification of Breach You have a right to request an accounting of disclosures, and this request must be in writing. This is a list of certain disclosures we make of your medical record for purposes other than treatment, payment or operations. You also have the right to be notified by us following a breach of unsecured protected health information.
Request Restrictions You have a right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations, but we are not required to agree to all requests for restrictions. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery you had. Requests for such restrictions must be presented by you in writing.
Request Method of Confidential Communication You have a right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you may ask us to contact you at work or by U.S. Mail. STHS will do so only if the request is submitted in writing and includes a mailing address where you will receive bills for Hospital services and other correspondence regarding payment. We reserve the right to contact you by other means and at other locations if you fail to respond to any communication from us that requires a response. We will notify you in accordance with your original request prior to attempting to contact you by other means or at another location.
A Paper Copy of This Notice You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. A copy can be obtained from our Patient Experience Department, and you may also obtain a copy from our website at www.STHS.org.
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE STHS reserves the right to change this Notice, and the revised or changed notice will be effective for information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. The current notice will be posted in the Hospital and include the effective date. In addition, each time you register at or are admitted to STHS for treatment or health care services as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.
COMPLAINTS If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the Hospital by writing or sending a message electronically to the Patient Experience Department at St. Tammany Health System, 1202 South Tyler Street, Covington, Louisiana 70443 or via e-mail to guestservices@STPS.org. You may also call the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-877-696-6775. A complaint will not affect your current or future medical treatment at our facility.
CONTACT INFORMATION If you have questions about this Notice, contact the Patient Experience Department by dialing (985) 898-4669. If you would like to take advantage of our anonymity policy, contact our Admitting Department at (985) 898-4401.
For additional information about the following, contact the Health Information Management Department at (985) 898-4419 or in writing to the Department at 1202 South Tyler, Covington, Louisiana, 70433:
- Your right to inspect or obtain a copy of your health information;
- Your right to request an amendment to your record, an accounting of disclosures or a restriction or limitation on medical information ; or
- Your right to request that we communicate with you in a certain way.